Legal Information: District of Columbia

Know the Laws - By State

Please see below for state-specific laws that might be useful for victims and survivors of domestic violence. This information is written in a Q & A format and is meant to provide you with easy-to-understand information. You can also reach us at our Email Hotline if you have more specific questions.

A brief description of the difference between state laws and federal laws.

Information about civil protection orders and moving in and out of state with a protection order.

State-specific information about custody in D.C.

This page addresses some general (not state-specific) laws of one parent taking a child out of the state or country, without the other parent’s consent.

Basic information about divorce in Washington, D.C.

Information about housing-related protections for victims of domestic violence.

Washington, D.C. provides workplace protections for victims of domestic violence, stalking, and sexual abuse by allowing employees to use their paid time off to get services or protection. The law also allows victims of domestic violence to get unemployment insurance if they lose their job because of the domestic violence.

Confidentiality laws for victims at a shelter or on a hotline.

Information about crimes the abuser may have committed in the District of Columbia and victim assistance programs.

If you are a victim of domestic violence or the abuser has a criminal record, it may be illegal for the abuser to buy or have a gun.

You may have a right to sue an abuser for medical costs, lost wages, and to recover your property.